Monday, November 13, 2017

KILLING GROUND (2017) (Scream Factory/IFC Midnight Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory/IFC Midnight
Region Code: A
Duration: 89 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Surround 5.1, Stereo 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.37:1) 
Director: Damien Power 
Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane, Maya Stange, Julian Garner, Tiarnie Coupland, Liam Parkes, Riley Parkes

In the contemporary ozplitation survival horror flick Killing Ground (2017) we have young couple Sam (Harriet Dyer) and her med student boyfriend Ian (Ian Meadows) headed to a remote Australian riverside beach for a romantic New Year's Eve weekend camping trip. Along the way they stop by a roadside convenience store for bubbly and are warned by a local - who figures into the story later - that the road is treacherous, suggesting an alternative location for camping, but they decide to brave it anyway, and find that the off-roading is not too bad at all. Arriving at the spot they find that the beach is already populated by another campsite, but there's plenty of room and they set up anyway, hoping to make the best of it.

Oddly, no one seems to be around the other campsite, it appears abandoned but there's a vehicle nearby, however, but no one shows up even as night sets in, but the couple assume they must be out for a hike, perhaps to the nearby waterfall. The next day they find an infant boy named Ollie injured on the ground nearby, he's alone and dehydrated, from here the movie plunges into the depths of survival horror fairly quickly, which is a good thing because the first third of the film is a bit sluggish, or maybe it's just slowing building the tension, it all depends on how you want to look at it. The movie plays with a non-linear structure, weaving the tales of the overlapping campers, taking it back a day to the arrival of a young family, mom and dad (Stephen Hinter, Maya Stange) and their teenage daughter (Tiarnie Coupland), plus the infant son. As the stories begin to converge we see how the family fell afoul of a heinous pair of Aussie scumbags, German (Aaron Pedersen) and his dim sidekick Chook (Aaron Glenane), two hunters out in the woods not looking for kangaroo to shoot, nope they're after human prey, beginning with the teenage daughter who they catch unaware while sleeping in the family vehicle while the rest of her family are on a hike.

What transpires is not exactly new sort of territory for an Australian thriller, or any survival horror, we get a rough and tense stomach churning scenario that gets worse by the minute, with the rapey/murderous thugs having their way with the family, stringing them to trees and shooting cans off their heads, brutally raping the teen, humiliating and brutalizing the parents before inevitably doing them in. Even the young child is not spared, getting tossed around like an unwanted rag doll, and as the fate of the first family plays out enter Sam and Ian, who also find themselves hunted by the same pair of hillbilly baddies.

The baddies are rather evil and without any sort of compassion, one actually ends up wounding the other in his maniacal zeal to kill, and how it all plays our feels sort of - played out, this is the sort of thing we've seen way too many times, and aside from some non-linear storytelling and an odd end that comes right when one of the deepest quandaries presents itself, it's the same slice of low-rent survival horror we've come to expect. It's not bad, it is actually quite nicely shot, well assembled, and as usual the Australian outback offers some innate scenic visuals, but the material is fairly rote, but if you're in the mood for a seedy survival thriller with very few surprises you could do a lot worse. 

Audio/Visual: Killing ground (2107) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory in conjunction with IFC Midnight, framed in 2.37:1 widescreen and looking sharp, colors are vibrant and black levels are nice and deep. Audi choice includes with English DTS-HD MA Surround 5.1 an stereo 2.0 with optional English subtitles. The surround option offers some modest spacial  use of the surrounds to capture the sounds of the forested canopy. The only extra on the disc is a trailer for the film and previews for other IFC Midnight titles. This is a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a  with a 2-sided sleeve of artwork, the a-side featuring artwork, the b-side featuring an image from the film, each disc features the same artwork as the sleeve.

Killing Ground (2107) is a gut-punch, but it the kind of gut-punch you've received many time before, you'be probably built up a tolerance to it by this point, but if you're looking for more punishment Killing Ground will deliver it.